I have a slightly unusual picture for sky watch today. What you see was an ATV Track! Now I am not a big fan of ATV bikes. But then again, if I come across an activity I usually end up doing it! This was no exception. This was Thongsomboon Club in the Khaoyai Region of Thailand. Like Chockchai Farm, they also had a cowboy theme. The staff was dressed in pretty cowboy outfits! The adventure park is spread in a large area. We were there just before the sundown so it was doubly pretty.
The tracks you see are meant for riding your ATV. I have done this before in Lonavala, India and I gave it a pass the last time in Nakhon Nayok region of Thailand. This time I decided to give it a try again. The ATV has just a break and a gear, so it is not a complicated machine. The track has a lot of tires strewn around so that if you crash, you do not get hurt. Now I had insurance but of course I didn’t wish to use it.
After the first set of instructions, we were off. I started off slowly on the lovely track. In a while when I had to take the first gentle turn, I realized that trying to turn it like you had power steering was of no use! You really had to turn hard to get a result. After that things were pretty smooth. Only I crawled with the ATV like a bullock cart till the end. Not the way you are supposed to drive them? Well, that is how I did it and that is what I can tell. Now if I compare this to my snowmobile ride in Lapland, it is such a story of contrasts.
If the copyright my picture has left you wondering it was not that John Abraham, this gentleman was a journalist.
For this has been a truly lazy Sunday after a long time, I almost did not post anything. But then old habits die hard. So for this lazy Sunday I present the Haew Suwat Waterfall from Khaoyai, Thailand.
Khaoyai National Park is a beautiful lush green area. You can take your own car inside the park. I am not sure if you can take them on the trails though. We pretty much stayed in the main area and didn’t take the detours. But we did take the park vehicle in the evening to go on a night trail!
There are steps leading down to the waterfall and swimming is prohibited in the natural pool. It was good to sit down, take off my shoes and put my feet in water. This waterfall is inside the Khaoyai National Park, about two and a half hours from Bangkok. It was quite popular with the locals. There were many people at the waterfall enjoying the scenic view.
I was quite excited about the night safari in the park. We were standing at the back of an open vehicle and started on our safari. The weather looked ominous and I was quite worried about my camera. I asked around and secured a poly bog, just in case it rained.
And rain it did! It literally poured down like anything. The front of the vehicle had a cabin and it suddenly became a very attractive place for everyone. I passed on my camera inside quickly but I was not too keen to go in. But as our guide was a lady and she too would not go in as a courtesy I gave up after 5 minutes.
Once inside the cabin I realized how cold it was actually to stand in that tropical downpour even for five minutes. My teeth were chattering all the time! Our guide probably saved me from getting a nasty cold!
The invitation from Tourism Authority of Thailand came quite close to the actual trip. I have piles of work on my table to finish if I wanted to make that trip. I managed to finish every bit of it as the motivation was great, if I completed everything I would get to enjoy the Amazing Thailand for second time! Plus, I would come to more or less clean table as it is summer vacation time in the college. No, the college for me doesn’t close but it is easier to take leave when the classes are off.
When I told my family I was going to Thailand no one other than my father batted an eyelid. He was not too thrilled with my decision but now even he is convinced that it was fine that I went.
I took the Thai Airways flight TG 316. Due to some reason the web check-in was not working. There was an update to this effect on the website that they are upgrading and on certain routes one may experience difficulties in online check-in till mid August. My flight was one of those flights. I managed to get an aisle seat. On a night flight aisle seats are looking attractive to me now. Let us see what I opt for when I go someplace next.
In this post I give a summary of things I did, almost all the events and places will become a full post later on.
I watched The Monuments Men on the flight and then fell asleep after that glass of wine with dinner. We were hosted at the Imperial, Queen’s Park hotel in Sukhumvit. We had free time till lunch. I decided to close my eyes till lunch, a sure sign that I am going old. There have been trips where I would run out to the city if I had even a few hours free. I had a good stay at the hotel, absolutely hassle free. There was a bath tub and plenty of tea in the room.
Our first stop after the lunch was the newly opened Central Embassy Mall. It is a place to go for high end shopping. If you like to shop for brands like Gucci and Versace and more like that, this is the place for you. If it is not the kind of shopping you do (like me) check out there eating place Ethai. It has been set up in street food fashion and offers great Thai food from all the regions of the country. They have a special shop for vegetarians like me as well.
I was part of the media group attending TTM Plus 2014 (Thailand Travel Mart) from New Delhi. The event was attended by 403 sellers and 314 buyers from 45 countries. I found the wedding and adventure themes quite attractive. I am told that many Indians now go and get married in Thailand at the exotic locations.
In the evening there was a gala dinner with cultural performances but that is part of a separate post.
You might have noticed that I hardly ever mention shopping on my blog. Well, Bangkok changed it! There was a shopping festival going on in the Impact Arena itself which was the venue of TTM as well. My friend Maansi who was traveling with the Mumbai group introduced me to it. I shopped so much that I marginally exceeded the 20 kg weight allowance for the first time in my life. Next time when I visit Thailand I am going to be very selective in what I pack so that I can shop without worrying about excess baggage.
The second day was spent at TTM and its media briefing. Later we went for a dinner cruise with Grand Pearl at the Chao Phraya River. It was an amazing experience to see Bangkok at night. And yes they managed vegetarian food for two of us with prior notice.
The next day we headed to Khaoyai region which is about 2 hours plus drive from Bangkok on good roads. We stopped at Sala Khaoyai Resorts for lunch. It was a beautiful property with 7 exclusive rooms in all. It is the place for a romantic holiday with rooms built for privacy. In the month of June they are running a promotion too.
We were hosted by the Greenery Resort at Kahoyai. It is a huge place with water rides for kids! It was one popular section. I had a comfortable room and plenty of tea supply. The staff was exceedingly courteous. I also found time to take a dip in the swimming pool at the resort! It was a toss between the spa and the swimming pool and the swimming pool won!
Khaoyai has many places with a cowboy theme. Thongsomboon Club was one of those places. It is an adventure park which offers trailer style accommodations. We didn’t had much time here but I still did an ATV ride which was great fun, only I drive an ATV like a bicycle!
The visit to PB Valley was my first visit to a vineyard. It is a great place for dinner and wine tasting. It is very scenic too. They do not have accommodations as of now, but they plan to add accommodations as well. I bought a bottle of wine for home. We have yet to open it.
We visited the Khaoyai National Park on two occasions. One was a day trip to see the waterfalls within the park and the other was a night safari. I was not lucky with sightings (when have I been?) but I love being inside a jungle and this was no exception. Khaoyai is the oldest national park in Thailand.
Palio is an Italian themed shopping complex near Khaoyai. It has beautiful buildings, cafes, restaurants and shops. It is a photographer’s delight. I did shop a few dresses from there as well!
My last stop on the trip was Chockchai Farm which is once again cowboy themed and it makes sense as it is a dairy farm. We had to cut short the tour of the farm as we had an evening flight to catch.
I managed my usual window seat on the return flight. I watched The Wolf of the Wall Street and by the time it was over I was about to land in Delhi which had a night temperature of 40 degree Celsius! So, this in nutshell was my amazing trip to Amazing Thailand. Detailed posts will follow now, alternating with Jordan!